Letter: Short-term solar thinking in New Castle
New Castle was presented the opportunity to install, at no cost, a community solar garden in a weed-infested parcel bounded by Castle Valley Ranch. Prompt action was needed for this project to happen. The council voted 5-1 to present the project to the community on July 29. Benefits would have included the ability of the town and those residents in Garco/Excel who subscribed, to stabilize their energy costs for 25 years or more. This includes those who have no access to rooftop solar energy. Downsides include impacts on adjacent property owners.
A group of owners, most not proximal to the site, torpedoed community input by their well-organized but fact-deficient campaign, including the threat of legal action. Their major concern was the effect on property values of a solar array. Despite the existence of multiple recent studies showing the positive effect of rooftop solar on property values, this group created an aura of nonacceptance, forcing the Clean Energy Collective to withdraw the application. Thus, a small subset of residents may well have cost the town and a large majority of residents valuable long-term assets.
The elephant in the room is anthropogenic climate change. There has been much written on AGC for decades; positions are solidified. Due to motivational reasoning, dysfunctional politics and a human tendency for short-term focus, I expect no significant actions to reduce greenhouse gases in my lifetime. I am sorry for all our grandchildren and their grandchildren.
If the campaign of the “reducers” is successful, but they are wrong about climate change, they will at small cost have improved energy security for the world. If the “increasers” are successful, but wrong, they will have committed the world to the costly mitigation of some combination of flooding, extreme weather events, species extinction, famine, population disruptions, conflicts over resources and progression toward warming irreversibility.
I challenge each of you to write a letter to your descendants, to be opened in 100 years. Tell them why you support your present position on the issue. They will appreciate knowing why their world “is what it is.”
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